Labella to barangay chiefs: Ensure social distancing
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The incident in Barangay Buhisan on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, should not happen again.
This was the pronouncement of Mayor Edgardo Labella on Thursday morning, on April 2, 2020, a day after a video of the distribution of rice assistance in Barangay Buhisan went viral for violating social distancing protocols.
Labella did not say if the barangay officials would be held liable for the incident, but he reiterated that social distancing must be practiced at all times especially with the rising cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Gihatag na tanang hinabang sa barangays. Naa sa ila tanan. Dapat ipatuman gyod ang social distancing. (We have given the barangays all the help. They have everything. They should implement social distancing),” said the mayor.
Around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the residents of Buhisan flocked the barangay hall after an announcement was made that relief goods were being distributed.
Buhisan Barangay Captain Gremar Barete said they scheduled five sitios that afternoon for distribution. However, people from other sitios swarmed the barangay hall as well.
Barete said he immediately ordered the tanods to control the crowd, but attempts were futile as the people continued to swamp the barangay hall.
It was then that they sought the help of the police and restored order to the area.
Barete said the succeeding distribution had been calm and orderly.
Labella said that social distancing must remain paramount during the ECQ especially that each barangay were given the financial assistance for the needs of the residents.
Barangays were given P1 million to P3 million financial assistance each for food packs and for personal protective equipment (PPE). The bigger the population of the barangays, the bigger their financial assistance.
The money must be used for 80 percent food packs and 20 percent PPEs and other supplies.
Since the responsibility had already been given to the barangays, the mayor reminded the chiefs that they would be responsible for upholding order and social distancing as well.
He said barangays must plan thoroughly their distributions to avoid a similar incident. /dbs
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